A Viewpoint article published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that the clinical practice of prescribing amphetamines, opioids, and benzodiazepines to treat chronic pain may be contributing to the increase in fatal drug overdoses and the likelihood that those drugs will be diverted to the illegal market. "Rethinking Opioid Prescribing to Protect Patient Safety and Public Health" was authored by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS, and Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, and Stefan P. Kruszewski, MD, of MD & Associates.
"More people in the U.S. die from a drug overdose than they do from motor vehicle accidents and more of those deaths are caused by prescription opioids than those attributable to cocaine and heroin combined," said Alexander, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School and co-director of the new Johns Hopkins Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness.
There are measures currently in place to monitor the increasing epidemic of opioid abuse, including limits on the number of opioid prescriptions covered by insurers, requirements that these drugs be supplied through a single physician or pharmacy, and state prescription drug monitoring programs. However, the Viewpoint conveys that unless there is a clinical shift in the widespread use of these medicines, efforts to reduce opioid abuse may not succeed.
"Prescribing opioids as a matter of course for treatment impedes the opportunity to explore and implement other methods of therapy that could offer relief for millions of Americans who suffer from acute or chronic pain," said Webster, professor of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School. "It also increases the odds these drugs will be misused or diverted from the legal to the illegal market, leading to more addiction and death."
The article reveals there are clear correlations between national trends for prescription opioid sales, admissions for substance abuse treatment, and deaths. It also recommends that existing regulatory and enforcement measures to prevent nonmedical use and diversion should be complimented by changes to clinical guidelines to treat chronic pain that are less reliant on opioids.
"It's evident more research needs to be done to identify alternative approaches to pain management and treatment, but prescribing practices must change to reverse what has become a pervasive epidemic leading to widespread morbidity, mortality, and community strife," Alexander added.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health: http://www.jhsph.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
For the first time, researchers have tracked the spread of Ebola, almost in real time, during an outbreak. The virus is quickly changing its DNA. But it's still unclear what these mutations mean.
Think of all the adults you know. Think of your parents and grandparents. Think of the teachers you had at school, your doctors and dentists, the people who collect your rubbish, and the actors you see on TV. All of these people probably have little mites crawling, eating, sleeping, and having sex on their faces.
A trial vaccine against Ebola could be tested on healthy volunteers in the UK in September, says an international health consortium.
The ALS Association has raised more than $94 million in recent weeks via its online ice bucket challenge — compared with $2.7 million this time last year. Now what?
Implant attached to bone in pioneering technique that helps prevent infection and discomfort
A new method for removing allergens from peanuts means help could soon be on the way for the roughly 2.8 million Americans with a potentially life-threatening allergy to the popular food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
Survey finds many social media users hesitate to express opinions unless they know their followers will agree with them
Ebola has a nasty reputation for damaging the body, especially its blood vessels. But when you look at the nitty-gritty details of what happens after a person is infected, a surprising fact surfaces.
You think bringing a new toothbrush to market is easy? The seven-year saga of two dental entrepreneurs struggling to bring their patented brush to consumers suggests otherwise.
Scholars have long tried to understand how culture affects communities. New research argues that the parking behavior of drivers may tell us something about the economic productivity of nations.